One More Victim of Hurricane Sandy: Your Sinuses
It is one of the lesser known facts of sinus medicine that your comfort can be affected by more than just allergens and pollutants in the air—it can be affected by air pressure too. Barometric pressure, mainstay of the local weather forecast, can play a starring one in sinus distress. The catch: the pressure in question must be so anomalous, so outside the typical range, that it becomes instantly intolerable.
Hurricane Sandy offered just such an opportunity. As the Baltimore Sun recently reported:
Preliminary results from the National Weather Service showed barometric pressure in Baltimore fell to 964.4 millibars during the storm – the lowest since at least 1930.
When barometric pressure drops suddenly it causes pressure in the sinuses to expand as it tries to balance with the air on the outside. The air gets stuck inside because swelling in the lining of the nose causes the sinus passageways to shut. In turn, the pressure builds up inside pressing against the sinuses and bones and leading to headaches and other pain.
It’s likely that any sinus pain which appeared as the storm approaches was quickly forgotten in the tumult of the event itself, but some sinusitis sufferers may be dealing with the aftereffects even now. Just one more reason to see a good ENT if you have any sinus symptom that persists longer than a couple of weeks. No pressure.
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